The stakes will be high in Abu Dhabi on October 22 when a new 155-pound king is crowned. In the mind of Oliveira, he well and truly still holds the crown, believing the title was stolen from him earlier this year when a weight miss prior to UFC 274 saw the title vacated.
While many share that sentiment already, the Brazilian can leave no doubt by officially returning to the throne in the UFC 280 main event, where he’ll meet surging Dagestani Islam Makhachev.
Despite frequently upsetting the odds, first when coming from behind to stop Michael Chandler at UFC 262 and then in a pair of victories over Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, “Do Bronx” enters the latest threat to his lengthy win streak as an underdog.
Per BetOnline.ag, Oliveira currently sits at +135, with the #4-ranked contender Makhachev favored at -155. But in the eyes of one lightweight prospect, those odds couldn’t be further from an accurate depiction of how the fight will play out.
Pimblett: Oliveira Is The Best Lightweight
During a recent appearance on the Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson podcast, Pimblett, who’s made a splash in the UFC lightweight division with three finishes in three Octagon outings, gave heavy praise to his division’s most recent titleholder.
And while Makhachev is looking to cement himself as the Russian heir to friend, coach, and mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov, the retired legend’s immediate successor hopes to spoil the Dagestani contingent’s plans next month, and “The baddy” is backing him to do so — and “convincingly.”
“It’s not vacant is it. Charles Oliveira is the champ. Technically it’s vacant, but really, he missed weight by half-a-pound, Oliveira’s the champ. This defense is to equal Khabib’s three (defenses), basically,” Pimblett said. “I proper rate Charles, lad, he’s one of the best in the world at the minute. He’s quality. He’s the best at 155. I think he’s gonna beat Makhachev, quite convincingly. I’m sure that Makhachev is the favorite, but (the oddsmakers have it wrong).”
In his 2021 and 2022 bouts, Oliveira has been able to bounce back from knockdowns to secure finishes of his own, one via knockout and two by way of submission. This time, however, he’ll be against a smothering wrestler who won’t be afraid to follow him to the ground.
While many see that as a point in favor of the Russian, others see a greater chance of grappling exchanges as a benefit for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace. Pimblett evidently sits in that camp, and will be expecting “Do Bronx” to extend his win streak to 12 come October 22.
Do you agree with Paddy Pimblett’s assessment of Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev?